THE ROLE OF
IMPETUS FOR RESEARCH
Personal connection: Reading teacher for five years
focused on struggling adolescent reading.
Previous research: The National Reading Panel derailed
research on independent reading for many years
because of its exclusion based on research
Current Practice: As an administrator, students reject
reading because of the increased focus on
OBJECTIVES OF STUDY
Survey Secondary Teachers
about Independent Reading
What do they know?
Where did they learn the construct
of independent reading?
How do they implement
independent reading (if they do)?
What considerations do they have
when implementing independent
What results do they find in the
classroom from independent
Situated Learning / Constructivist view (Lave, 1991;
Lave, 1998; and Wenger, 1998)
Learning occurs through interaction with others and the
Teachers and students build a community of practice where
learning occurs between and among members of the
Learning is social and discussion should be encouraged.
Independent reading is the self or scaffold selection of
reading materials both in and out of the classroom that
students read on their own(Morgan & Wagner, 2013 )
Independent reading is declining in the secondary
classroom (Lapp & Fisher, 2009)
Students desire more time and choice of materials
within the classroom for independent reading (Ivey &
Broaddus, 2000; Zipper, Sisson & Said, 2002; Trudel, 2002;
Kasten & Wilfong, 2005).
Students call for a social aspect tied to independent
reading similar to book clubs (Ivey & Broaddus, 2000;
Zipper, Sisson & Said, 2002; Trudel, 2002; Kasten &
Phenomenological Approach as
teachers implement (or do not
implement) the shared phenomenon
of independent reading (Creswell,
Guiding Question : “In what ways do
high school reading and English
teachers incorporate (or not
incorporate) independent reading in
Each teacher was interviewed based
on his or her experiences in the
Semi structured interview questions
were created by the primary
investigator and refined through a
pilot study and mentor support.
How do you define education?
How do you define reading?
In what ways can a secondary teacher teach literacy
or reading skills?
How did you learn about independent reading
In what ways do you incorporate independent reading
strategies in your classroom?
What effects from independent reading do you see in
What influences your decision to incorporate
independent reading into the classroom?
Seven teachers with a
teaching span between
eight and 36 years.
All were certified to teach by
the state agency in either
English or Reading
Three of the seven had
degrees in education .
Four of the seven had
degrees in English or English
Six of the seven taught
English or Reading courses
more than five years.
Following Glaser’s (1965) constant comparative
approach of repeated readings.
Each transcript read individually looking for emergent themes.
Transcripts than read across looking for emergent themes.
Data entered into word analysis program (www.wordle.net) to
create word count and word cloud to substantiate themes.
Similar and binary codes were created and each transcript
was read a final time coding for these ideas.
Five Different Themes Emerged
Act of Education
Difference between reading and
literacy: it is about understanding
Defining independent reading –
Location of independent reading
Effects of independent reading
ACT OF EDUCATION
Teachers differed on their view of education including
how active students are during the process.
“Education is the procurement of knowledge, gathering
knowledge to better yourself.”
“Education is the process … to learn the necessary skills”
“Students serve as deposits during education.”
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN READING
Participants’ understanding of reading and literacy
focused on developing understanding versus fluency.
“Reading is decoding words written on a page.”
“Literacy to me means you understand what you are reading
and can apply it to your everyday life and explain it to
DEFINING INDEPENDENT READING
The hallmark of our participants’
understanding of independent
reading focused on student
“Students reading on their own from a
text they choose.”
“Read from our class library or bring
personal reading to class.”
LOCATION OF INDEPENDENT
Teachers disagreed on the idea of where independent
“In my class, independent reading…”
“at their own pace inside or outside of school, that is
EFFECTS OF INDEPENDENT
Teachers focused on “catching”
students faking reading.
“Students try to fool me into
thinking they are reading when
they are not.”
“Students still refuse to read and
will fake it by holding up a book
without actually reading.”
“The time is wasted and students
are not focused.”
Build knowledge of
reading in the
reading through the
allowing for the
Collaborate with others
resources to teachers
to bolster classroom
Develop models for
instead of focusing on
Independent reading is an important strategy for
Continued research is necessary (and growing strong)
to study independent reading.
The strategy needs additional support for
implementation to make it successful.
Matthew Ulyesses Blankenship
University of South Florida, Tampa
Presentation available for
review on Slide Share.